Late for Work 3/21: Can Flacco be the Leader with Lewis Around?

Plus no private workout scheduled with Gabbert and Ravens on the clock: what’ll they do?

Posted by Sarah Ellison on Monday, March 21st, 2011 at 8:28 am | Categories: Late For Work, Sarah Ellison

Can Flacco be the Leader with Lewis Around?

Is quarterback Joe Flacco ready to take over the leadership role for the Ravens?

Baltimore had never advanced to the playoffs three years in a row before Flacco joined the franchise, so he appears to be making steps in the right direction.

Perhaps the more intriguing question is whether Flacco can truly be the commander while 15-year veteran Ray Lewis is still wearing a Ravens uniform.

“NFL Total Access” analyst Jon Jansen believes that taking over a title Lewis has held for years would be an “impossible” task.

“If Joe is going to be the leader on this team, he cannot do it with Ray on the other side. It just is impossible,” Jansen said.

“Ray Lewis is the leader of this team and there’s nobody that’s going to challenge that.”

Jansen proposed that the young quarterback watch Lewis closely so that once the 11-time Pro Bowler decides to hang up his cleats, Flacco will be ready to step in.

But that’s not how it works in football, says fellow analyst Warren Sapp. Instead of waiting to be appointed, Sapp believes Flacco needs to seize the leadership role regardless of Lewis’ presence.

“They’ve already been [to the playoffs] enough,” said Sapp. “He has to reach in – big, strong quarterback like that – and grab some of [the leadership role].

“Because if you’re not going to grab some of it, guess what? We’re not going to give it to you. We don’t follow people that they all of a sudden anoint leaders. We follow ones that step out in the forefront and say, ‘Hey fellas! This way!’”

If you’re looking for a sign that Flacco is ready take over, ESPN analyst and former Ravens Super Bowl-winning quarterback Trent Dilfer believes you’ve got one when the third-year QB voiced his opinion about the release of Quarterbacks Coach Jim Zorn.

“What we haven’t seen from Joe Flacco is that fire in his belly, that commander mentality,” said Dilfer in the video below. “I think he showed it when Jim Zorn left. He voiced his opinion. He said, ‘Listen, I don’t like this. I’m going to stand up for myself.’

“And I think that’s a healthy thing for the Baltimore Ravens.”

Ravens on the Clock: CB Jimmy Smith at No. 26

Owner Steve Bisciotti, General Manager Ozzie Newsome and Head Coach John Harbaugh all have their “eyes on the Super Bowl,” according to ESPN’s Mel Kiper.

So when their time comes in the first round of the draft to choose just one player they believe will get them closer to the ultimate prize, who will Ravens brass select?

Even though Kiper believes the Ravens need a speedy receiver to stretch the field on offense and an effective pass rusher opposite outside linebacker/defensive end Terrell Suggs on defense, the draft guru envisions Baltimore selecting Colorado cornerback Jimmy Smith at No. 26.

“I think [Smith], if he is still on the board, that third cornerback coming off the board, who had top 10 to 15 talent, if he slides down this far, the Ravens need that big physical corner who can matchup against those type of receivers in the NFL,” said Kiper.

“Jimmy Smith, Colorado, to the Baltimore Ravens late in the first round.”

Gabbert NOT Scheduled to Work Out for Ravens

John Harbaugh is the head coach of the Baltimore Ravens. Jim Harbaugh is the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers.

The note seems obvious enough, but getting the two brothers confused may have been the reason behind two incorrect reports this weekend.

First, it was reported by the Associated Press that the Ravens’ head coach attended Missouri’s pro day last week to scout quarterback Blaine Gabbert, who could be the first overall selection of the 2011 NFL Draft.

Turns out, it was Jim who was at the workout, not John, which makes sense because the 49ers are in the market for a franchise quarterback and the Ravens are more than satisfied with Flacco at the helm.

Then on Friday, The Sporting News reported that the Ravens were one of three teams who have a private workout with Gabbert scheduled.

But a Ravens source disputed the report, telling the Baltimore Sun it was “ridiculous.”

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